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First Thing in the Morning
by the Shaker V
posted on April 15, 2000

4:30 and the alarm cries.
My arm instinctively darts for the snooze.
Not today, not ever do I allow myself.

How water soaks my face,
And my whole body is at perfect peace,
Never wanting to leave.
20 minutes later the water hints at cold,
And I stretch for the towel.
Can't be late.
Not today, not ever.

I turn on my autopilot, on the way to practice.
"How did I get here?" I ask myself as I walk towards the boathouse,
Not fully waking till the cold air hits.

Oars locked in place; we simultaneously push off the dock.
Still dark out, you can see hints of sun on the bow ball.
"All 8 at the finish. Ready all - Row! echoes through the gunwale,
As 8 move as 1 towards the catch

Without hesitation, legs, arms, and body lock on,
As rehearsed for months, to pry the boat through the water.
The wooden oar punches my chest,
And I immediately jerk it from the trusty Hudson.
Every movement synchronized and choreographed.

Images of my friends sleeping in their warm beds
Flood my mind as I creep towards the catch again.

I send the oar through the water and the pictures from my head.
May 8th, the state championships,
Is all I have to think about.